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Disgraced US cardinal dies in Rome aged 86

Rome, Wednesday

Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign as archbishop of Boston 15 years ago over a Church sex abuse scandal, has died aged 86 in Rome. Cardinal Law stepped down in 2002 after journalists reported he had moved paedophile priests between parishes rather than addressing victims’ claims.

The film Spotlight was later made about the allegations against dozens of priests in his Boston diocese. After leaving Boston, Cardinal Law (pictured) took a post at the Vatican. He worked there until 2011.

The child sex abuse allegations, which covered events over a period of decades, led to hundreds of lawsuits and threatened the Boston diocese with bankruptcy. As a result, it agreed to sell land and buildings for more than $100 million (Sh1 billion) to fund legal settlements for more than 500 victims.

The scandal prompted the Vatican to draw up new plans to combat child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Born in 1931 in Torreon, Mexico, Cardinal Law was the son of a US Air Force colonel and a musician.

He graduated from Harvard University and was ordained a priest in 1961. He soon became heavily involved in civil rights work in Mississippi. In 1984, Cardinal Law was appointed Archbishop of Boston and was a high-profile figure both in Church matters and in the wider world. He raised millions of dollars to help victims of natural disasters and worked to improve ties between Catholics and other Christian groups. — BBC

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